Binker & Moses Latest CD – reviewed by Sammy Stein

Written by | CD Reviews, News, Reviews

Binker and Moses have been around for a little while, making sounds and waves in the jazz scene, not just in the UK but now further afield. They were awarded Best Jazz Act (MOBO Awards 2015), UK Jazz Act Of The Year (Jazz FM Awards 2016), Breakthrough Of The Year (Jazz FM Awards 2016) and Jazz Newcomer Of The Year (Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2016) and have performed across the UK and on Jools Holland’s ‘Later’ for BBC2.

Binker Golding studied jazz at Middlesex University and completed his Master’s Degree at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He has learned from and played alongside many great saxophonists including Jason Yarde, Denis Baptiste and Gilad Atzmon. He is the Musical Director of the TW Youth Orchestra, has composed concert repertoire and conducted the Nu Civilisation Orchestra. Binker also plays in Moses’ band Exodus, and performed with Kano at last year’s Mercury Prize. Moses Boyd started playing music in his teens and has played in Denys Baptiste’s Quartet at the Royal Festival Hall. He was the 2014 Worshipful Company of Music’s Young Jazz Musician of the Year and won the John Peel Play More Jazz Award at the 2016 Gilles Peterson Worldwide Awards. He has worked and collaborated with artists including Ed Motta, Sampha and Gilles Peterson. He leads his own outfits The Exodus and Solo Exodus, which infuse jazz, grime, and electronica influences. He also produces and releases music on his own Exodus Records label.

The duo’s latest release on Gearbox Records ‘Journey To The Mountain Of Forever’ follows on from their acclaimed debut ‘Dem Ones’ and features 2 CDs , the first being the duo on their own and the second featuring guest musicians including saxophonist Evan Parker, trumpeter Byron Wallen, harpist Tori Handsley, tabla player Sarathy Korwar and drummer Yussef Dayes.

CD 1 opens with ‘The Departure’ and this has an emotive sax intro under which the drums weave a rapid and eclectic backdrop before the swingy, sassy beat develops with drums maintaining the rhythms with sax soaring in an echo of past jazz delivered with effervescence. Just over seven minutes flashes past as the duo swap roles, leading, supporting and connecting. There is a wonderful drum section from Moses Boyd and the sax picks up and re-enters the conversation. Both musicians shine here and Binker’s sax develops a gorgeous loose-reeded timbre which is very attractive to the ear. Intoxication From The Jahmonishi Leaves’ follows and we are off on a rhythmic journey, which the sax and then the drums lead. The over-riding rhythmic melody sets in and continues throughout the track, making for a joyous and heart-lifting excursion into a controlled and superbly delivered duet. The theme is set for a time, then changed, tweaked and blasted with eloquence from the sax. A beautiful and complex counterpoint section is lovely and the scale lines from Moses are superb. Towards the latter third, the drums go into overdrive creating deep grooves into which the sax pops in and out before re-establishing the theme. A lovely track.

‘Fete By The River’ is another tone completely with a European feel to this strolling, light delight. Latin rhythms are pressed into service, along with some swingy, strolling elemental beats, it works very well. A little tympanic interlude, a short, sweet sax response and then we are off strolling along again. Happy, trippy and sheer joy.

‘Trees on Fire’ is set to a slower beat yet the gaps are filled with intricate and intriguing sounds from both sax and drums. In the sax, there is here an intensity, which is tangible, and this track grows on the ears as it develops. The subtlety of the percussion at times allows for the dexterity of the sax delivery to shine – and it does. As it develops, Binker gives ever more intricate and textural sax over the percussion that you are left wondering what would eventually evolve if this were even longer. Just before the end, there is a lovely, slightly crazed drum section from Moses before both join to finish.

‘The Shaman’s Chant’ begins with an ethereal sax solo over gentle percussion but, brick by brick, the sound is built upon, added, coloured and textured into a semi-free musical treat which weighs heavy with style references of the past and present. Some gorgeous drumming, esoteric sax and places in the journey where the drums and the sax each solo over the other. ‘Leaving the Now Behind’ is a good old-fashioned slow number, with a theme on sax over percussion; gentle, caressing and dreamy.

CD2 starts with ‘ The Valley of The Ultra Blacks’ that begins with devilishly textured percussion under which other instruments make their presence known. This track is lively, jam-packed with different noise and textures and mesmeric. From the duo sets of CD 1 we go straight into the maelstrom of gorgeosity which these two create along with other sounds and textures provided by the rest of the ensemble. The confident entrance of sax denotes a change of emphasis and builds up. The fluttering notes of the tenor and alto of Parker and Binker shimmer and dip up, harmonise, diverge down and veer skywards. This track is wonderful, period. And far too short.

‘Gifts From The Vibrations of Light ‘ starts with the gentle, dulcet tones of the harp, creating an ethereal, atmospheric air under which the percussive notes of bells, tinkling charms, and gentle, sonorous sax introduce different sonic influences. ‘Mysteries and Revelations’ is announced by sax over a steady percussive rhythm and develops into a well-structured and interesting track. The military feel to the drums at the beginning is countered by the scales and arpeggios of the sax delivered rapid fire and then a slower theme is introduced but the beat goes on. The effusive sax of Evan Parker adds texture forms and hidden depths lurch from the deep and welcoming wellspring of melodic and tonal harmony at times and different rhythmic style at others. What holds this together is the beat, the constant march of the drums and this steady, non-variant is perfect as a counterfoil to the Saxes, which develop their own conversation over the top. Completely delightful.’ Ritual of The Root’ has the trumpet of Byron Wallen taking the listener into a territory where the sounds blend, rhythms merge and change and suddenly you have a swing beat, a beauty of a trumpet blasting solo, a steal from the sax and a reaction from the trumpet which is subtle, firm and not final as the trumpet comes back, vying for control, freely offered then snatched away. Lovely.’

‘The Voice of Besbunu’ is a short improvised section with sax and percussion enjoying a lively and rapidly delivered conversation. Short, sweet and an utter delight. ‘Echoes From The Other Side of The Mountain’ explodes into life with a drum roll and sax over the top with harp offering a sense of refuge in its gentle notes. A free blowing sax over blast from Parker is supported well by the layers of sound underneath and the reedy, harsh notes are countered by the harp’s gentle but firm intrusion. There is, at times, an empty, spacey quality to this track, which is not so engaging. ‘Reverse Genesis’ is clever and uses each instrument well. There is a lovely rise and fall to the track with the drum coming forward with deep bass rhythms, introducing a strong, encompassing beat to which the others respond. A lesson in cooperation and interaction and a beautiful rise and fall to the structure. ‘Entering The Infinite’ is harmonious, free and has the feel of a track in which every musician has a say. Screeching, soaring trumpet over cracking rhythms and dexterous sax, this is fun and engaging. ‘At The Feet Of The Mountain Forever’ closes the CD set and is an almost nine minute long journey across styles, rhythms, and themes. The hypnotic rhythm pervades the number to a great extent and is used as the basal line from which the sax and other instruments take off. Atmospheric, the track changes in emphasis, harmonic interactions and textures, the middle section paring back to drums and harp before the tabla and saxes add just a little more sound.

There is a joy to this release and an effervescent quality that makes the music very engaging. More importantly, there is respect for the music and intuitive responses from all players to each other. Binker and Moses have released something quite special and also had the chance to shine both as a duo on CD 1 and playing with other jazz interpreters on CD2. The use of expert improvisers and the range of musicians are great and the pairing of the saxes using Evan Parker’s rapid-fire improvisational tones sided with Binker’s slightly more reserved style is complete genius. The popularity of this duo both stems from the fact they link and cross boundaries, linking firmly the modern style of playing with deep respect for past methodology and interaction. The recording sessions were recorded live from Mark Ronsons’s Zelig studio direct to a 1960s Studer C37 1/4″ tape machine at Gearbox’s studio. There are no edits, drop-ins or mixing down so what you hear is what was played at the time – quality sound.

Label: Gearbox records

Track listing: All tracks Binker and Moses CD1

1. The Departure
2. Intoxication from the Jahvmonishi Leaves
3. Fete by the River
4. Trees on Fire
5. The Shaman’s Chant
6. Leaving the Now Behind

Disc 2 All tracks Binker and Moses with:

1. The Valley of the Ultra Blacks Feat. Evan Parker, Sarathy Kowar, Yussef Dayes
2. Gifts from the Vibrations of Light feat. Sarathy Kowar, Tori Handsley
3. Mysteries and Revelations feat. Evan Parker
4. Ritual of the Root feat. Bryon Wallen
5. The Voice of Besbunu B and M
6. Echoes from the Other Side of the Mountain Sarathy Kowar, Tori Handsley
7. Reverse Genesis Feat. Evan Parker
8. Entering the Infinite Feat. Bryon Wallen
9. At the feet of the Mountain of Forever Feat. Sarathy Kowar, Tori Handsley

Link to Direct buy

Images: Binker Golding

YT Video: BBC Music


Last modified: July 15, 2018